Albertus Magnus Picks A President

Lucy Gellman PhotoAs the incoming 14th president of Albertus Magnus College, Marc M. Camille promises to lure more first-generation undergrduates and add more practical options to a growing curriculum—and bring Catholic education fully into the 21st century.

The college announced Camille’s selection on Monday afternoon at 4:20 p.m.

Camille, who is 49 years old, is currently the president for enrollment management and communications at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore. He holds a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania.

He made the vow to expand practical courses and lure more first-gen students during a roundtable discussion in Albertus Magnus’ Walsh Hall on Huntington Street preceding the public announcement of his selection.

Speaking with Albertus board Chair Jeanne Dennison, Interim President Sister Anne Kilbride, Sister Patricia Twohill and other university administrators, Camille fielded questions about his upcoming tenure, which begins officially on June 30. The roundtable was followed with a university-wide announcement and celebration, at which he said he is “thrilled” to be taking leadership of the school.

Founded at its current Prospect Street campus in 1925, Albertus Magnus is a Catholic college in the Dominican tradition, noting dedication to service and community in its mission statement. The school, whose New Haven and Hartford campuses comprise 1,550 students, currently offers 50 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs.

As of the last annual report, 67 percent of students self-disclosed that they were first-generation college students—a point of pride for the college, Twohill said.

For 34 years, that student body—and an endowment of $30 million—have grown under the leadership of Julia McNamara, who stepped down in June 2016; she served 34 years, the longest tenure in the college’s history. Kilbride has been serving as interim president since.

After a unanimous vote of approval from the college’s Board of Trustees, Camille said he is ready to step into the position and lead the college forward “in a time of great uncertainty” for both educational policy and patterns of college matriculation.

His goals for the college, he said, are twofold: To continue to add more practical programs to the curriculum. And to engage the New Haven community, drawing historically educationally underserved populations—particularly students of color and first-generation students—to Albertus Magnus. That’s in addition to fundraising and “friendraising” for the college.

“I think I bring a track record” to enrollment management and growth, he said, pointing to his time not only at Loyola, but also as the dean of admission and financial aid for Xavier University, the University of Miami, and Mount Ida College.

Perhaps more important, he suggested, will be an opportunity to expand the college’s undergraduate and graduate offerings to both attract students, and prepare them for careers in New Haven and across the country more broadly. In the past year, Albertus Magnus has introduced undergraduate and graduate degree offerings in finance, accounting, and mental health counseling, said Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of Faculty Sean O’Connell. Camille pointed to those as models, noting that while it is “too early” for him to propose any concrete programs, he had similar curricular developments in mind for his impending tenure.

Likewise, he said, he has observed the somewhat alarming trend of lower high school graduation and college matriculation He said he sees Albertus Magnus as a place for students of color, many from first-generation college households, to undertake their undergraduate or graduate studies.

“The diversity that exists within New Haven is a real opportunity,” he said. “Baltimore [his current home] is a majority-minority city, and in my time at Loyola, we’ve been very deliberate in engaging the community. That will continue here.”

He added that he sees his role as to learn from, and expand, a New Haven focus that McNamara brought to the college and Kilbride has continued. “It only makes sense that the new president should continue that in a meaningful way, so it’s certainly on my agenda,” he said.

Camille added that Albertus Magnus’ strong commitment to the Dominican tradition—versus the Jesuit tradition, practiced at Loyola—also attracted him to the position. (Dominicans say they are contemplative in the midst of action; Jesuits say they are active in the midst of contemplation, according to Twohill.) While he joked about having to do “some homework” on the topic, he called it ultimately “an easy decision,” motivated in part by a value-based similarity that exists between the two: community, and the need to serve it.

“At their core, they represent a values-based system,” he said.

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